Lady Pens Volleyball Digest


Volleyball Starts 2013 at Coastal Carolina Tournament
by YSU
Friday, Aug 30, 2013 7:40 am
Volleyball Starts 2013 at Coastal Carolina Tournament
The Youngstown State volleyball team will embark on its 2013 season that is full of high expectations this weekend with three matches at the Coastal Carolina Tournament in Conway, S.C. The Penguins will play the host Chanticleers in the first match of the tournament on Friday at 6 p.m. On Saturday, YSU is scheduled to play Iowa at 1:30 p.m. and Wofford at 4:30 p.m. Live stats will be available for all three matches, and there will be live video for Friday evening's match against Coastal Carolina.

The Penguins return 12 letterwinners, all six starters and their libero from last season's squad that finished 15-14. That was the best record for the program in 13 years. Included in that group of returners are preseason Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year Jenna Cavanaugh and preseason all-league member Missy Hundelt. The Penguins went 10-4 in non-conference play last season, which was their first under head coach Mark Hardaway.

Scouting Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina returns all six of its starters and its libero from last year's squad that finished 14-14. The Chanticleers won 14 of their final 20 matches and advanced to the Big South Conference Tournament match. Coastal Carolina was picked to finish to finish second in the Big South preseason poll, and Kindra Bailey and Gabriella Horvath were voted onto the preseason all-conference team. This will be the first meeting between the Penguins and Chanticleers.

Scouting Iowa

The Hawkeyes return their top student-athletes in kills, assists, digs and blocks from last season's squad that finished 10-23 overall and 2-18 in the Big Ten. Junior Alessandra Dietz led Iowa last season in attack percentage, blocks and aces, and fellow junior Alex Lovell paced the Hawkeyes with 382 kills. YSU has never played Iowa, and the Penguins are 0-10 all-time against teams in the Big Ten.

Scouting Wofford

Wofford has six returning letterwinners from last season's squad that finished 15-14 overall and 5-11 in the Southern Conference. There are five seniors on the squad, and the trio of Amanda Liguori, Wendy Burnett and Bekah Dorsey led the Terriers last year in kills, blocks and assists, respectively. Wofford is under first-year head coach Ron Sweet, who was the associate head coach at James Madison last season. The Penguins are 0-1 all-time against the Terriers with a five-set loss in 2004.

Almost Everyone Returns

Youngstown State is coming off its best season in 13 years, and the Penguins' seven seniors are looking to raise the bar with almost everyone returning from last season. More than 96 percent of the team's kills and blocks return from last season, and 91 percent of the digs return. There are four players who are gone from last year - a middle blocker who played in 21 sets, a defensive specialist who appeared in four sets, a backup setter who played in five sets and a setter who played in 97 sets as part of the 6-2 offense. Among Horizon League teams, YSU returns the highest percentage of kills, blocks and digs from last year's squad. The Penguins return the second-lowest percentage of assists.

Most Seniors in the Horizon League

Youngstown State has a Horizon League-leading seven seniors on its roster for the 2013 season. Valparaiso has five seniors and two redshirt juniors, and Green Bay has five seniors. Cleveland State has three seniors on its roster, and Oakland, UIC and Wright State have two apiece. Milwaukee has just one senior on its roster. Bowling Green is the only other Division I team in Ohio to have seven seniors. No other school in the Buckeye state has more than five seniors.

Hoping for Another Solid Non-Conference Record

Youngstown State will be trying to put together an impressive non-conference record for the second year in a row. Youngstown State was 10-4 and won eight straight matches at one point during non-conference play last season. The Penguins had won just seven matches combined in the entire two previous seasons. The Penguins won 10 non-conference matches last season for the first time since 1999. They used the solid non-conference record to springboard into a 15-14 mark for the season, which was their best record in 13 years.

Among the Most-Improved Teams in 2012

Youngstown State was among the most-improved teams in the country last season, its first under head coach Mark Hardaway. The Penguins' 10-win improvement - going from five to 15 - tied for the 10th-best mark in the country. Further, their 99-spot improvement in the RPI was 15th-best in the country.

Hundelt Among the Greats

With a solid senior year, Missy Hundelt could have her name listed among the great volleyball players in Youngstown State history. Hundelt already ranks 12th in the career record book with 923 kills, and she is one of only three YSU players to ever have 900 kills entering their senior year. Just as impressive, Hundelt's 3.15 kills per set over her career is the fourth-best average in school history. A six-rotation player throughout her career, Hundelt needs 262 digs (she had 312 last year) to become the fourth player in school history with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.

Cavanaugh, Hundelt Earn Preseason Honors

Youngstown State seniors Jenna Cavanaugh and Missy Hundelt both earned preseason honors by the Horizon League Coaches in their preseason poll. Cavanaugh was voted the league's preseason defensive player of the year after leading the conference in blocks in 2012. Hundelt was picked to repeat as a member of the all-league team.

Horizon League Preseason Poll

Even with the significant amount of experience returning for the Penguins in 2013, Youngstown State was picked to finish seventh by the Horizon League coaches in their preseason poll. YSU finished sixth last season with a 5-9 mark in conference play and earned the final spot in the conference tournament. YSU received 20 points in the poll, just five behind league newcomer Oakland.

Hardaway Prefer's the 6-2 Offense

Head coach Mark Hardaway would prefer to run a 6-2 offense with the Penguins' roster composition, but YSU will have to go with Casey D'Ambrose as the lone setter for at least a couple weeks. Jessie Gerig is the only other setter on the roster, and she was out the entire preseason with a wrist injury. The Penguins employed two setters in their offense at some point in 28 of their 29 matches last season. The only exception was the season opener.

YSU Invitational Up Next

Youngstown State will continue its season next weekend with three matches at the YSU Invitational at Beeghly Center. The Penguins will welcome Saint Francis (Pa.), Tulane and Toledo to campus and will play matches at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
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